Repurposed & Reclaimed

Jenny Baca, creative art director and owner of JIPSI Reclaim & Dwell, shares her unique spin on design. She is all about sustainable, repurposed and reclaimed.

Edited by Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


SLHL: How would you describe your style?
Jenny: My style is 10,000% modern Bohemian.  Bohemianism is defined as: The practice of unconventional lifestyle often in the company of like-minded folks involving musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers or vagabonds or, in other words, a JIPSI. Hence, my business name!

SLHL: What is your favorite aspect of your design sense?
Jenny: I absolutely LOVE that my design sense instinctively wants to create from a sustainable standpoint. When I walk into a space, my brain asks, "How can I keep and work with the existing materials and architecture?" Blissoma Botanical Beauty in St. Louis is a perfect example of this. Owner Julie Longyear had a dream of turning a floral supply warehouse on Lasalle St. into a retail and manufacturing storefront for her holistic skincare.  I {repurposed + reclaimed} over 75 percent of this project. Now that's GREEN! 

SLHL: Where do you get your creative inspiration?
Jenny: Nature. Old movies. Fashion mags. Cooking shows. Storefront windows. Instagram. Big cities. My neighborhood. 

SLHL: How have you developed your eye over time?
Jenny: Hmm...My eye has certainly developed over time. I'm self-taught, which gives me freedom. My eye is trained to see shapes, colors, space and textures. My eye is trained to create energy or a feeling, not what's trending. My eye has developed more into the art and science of design, which is why I call myself a creative art director, not an interior designer. Changing my title changed my business.

SLHL: When you search antique/resale shops for items to repurpose, what catches your eye or makes something stand out?
Jenny: Thrifting is my everything!  I see things that other people don't see. When I find vintage silverware, I think cabinet handles. When I find a vintage bike, I think chandelier. It just comes to me immediately when I spot something. I like things that tell a story by its patina or items in multiples. I have a weakness for Art Deco, French, Rustic and Mid Century. Nothing is off limits to repurpose! 

SLHL: What is the most unique piece you have created with repurposed items?
Jenny: For sure, my most unique piece was a custom light fixture commissioned by Ben Poremba of Elaia and Olio. He had this vision of a sort of organic installation of copper pots and miscellaneous kitchen and metal items. And he wanted it big, so I made it big… approximately 4 feet by 6 feet. I didn't know how to weld, so I had to figure out a way to construct this piece, which ended up being hand wired to the frame chandelier. Ben had some copper pots from his personal collection and the rest was found locally. Items included: bicycle rims, fryer baskets, water pitchers, pots and utensils. I call him MonsterPiece, and he lives in the Elaia dining room.

SLHL: What role does wallpaper play in your design process?
Jenny: Wallpaper concepts are endless! The ceiling, the wall, the steps, bookcases, on furniture or in cabinets. I almost always do a feature wall in every room; sometimes I also use other materials, including wood.  Wallpaper is layer number two in the design process after the paint layer.    

JIPSI Reclaim & Dwell, 314-303-5499